Sunday, July 15, 2007
WHAT I SAID BEFORE.....I WAS WRONG.
A few months back, in fact on one of the first ever postings on TVV, I was a bit derogatory about Maximo Park and suggesting that they had got too big for their boots.
But on the basis of last night's gig at The Mod Club in Toronto, I take it all back.
They were on breathtaking form. And I got to talk to them all afterwards....
Last night was my first gig on Canadian soil. The tickets said doors opened at 7pm, and they did open bang on time - not an experience I'm familiar with back in the UK. I got myself right down to the front, and fortified by a few Vodka & Red Bulls, I settled down for the night.
A quick word on the support act, Monsters Are Waiting. I knew nothing of them beforehand, but they turned out to be an excellent four-piece band originating from Los Angeles, fronted by a fabulous female vocalist. The band sounded a bit like Interpol fronted by Sonia from Echobelly. They played for maybe 40 minutes and the time flew in. I'm intending to track down more on them in the coming weeks and maybe do a more in depth piece here at TVV In the meantime, you should have a look over at their site on my space. Just click here.
And so to the headline act.
This is a a band used to selling out the 2-3,000 capacity venues in the UK in no time at all. They've also played high up on the bill at most of the major European festivals. So how would they be in front of a 600 capacity audience in a city where next to no-one has heard of them?
Fucking brilliant is the answer.
The sound was absolutely astonishing - the band were note-perfect. The absence of an elaborate light show as is the norm back home meant you could concentrate on the the people on stage. Paul Smith on vocals was a different creature from the last time I saw him. It was no longer about him seemingly striking the rock poses and encouraging audience sing-a-longs. He was a bundle of energy leaping in all directions across the tiny stage. Lukas on keyboards was just as energetic, while Duncan, Archis and Tom were as polished and as talented as ever.
From the opening notes of Graffiti through to the set-closing Limassol and at all parts in between, the energy levels displayed by the band never diminished. It was, quite simply, one of the best gigs I've been at over the last three or four years.
I was warned beforehand that the crowds over here are a bit less energetic. And they are. Surprisingly so. Something I'm not used to.....
So....if anyone who was at the gig stumbles on to this review....I was the fat, balding bloke in the blue The Wedding Present t-shirt going apeshit and trying to pogo/dance down at the front. If I elbowed you or jumped on your toes (and I know I did that to a few folk round about me), I wholeheartedly apologise. But the performance of the band brought out that reaction in me. I just wish a few more had joined in with me.
On the plus side of the audience........they are hugely attentive with no talking in between songs. They gave a rapturous welcome to the band, they listened to every song and they cheered and hollered at the end.
And none of them behaved like arseholes by throwing half-empty pints of beer at the band (when exactly did that become fashionable back home and why the fuck don't the stewards do something about it??).
The 70 or so minutes flew in. At the end, I told a roadie I was intending to write a review for a blog, and he passed me a set-list.
I have to admit, I then turned into a groupie and waited outside by the band's bus to get them all to autograph the set-list for me. Me, the 44-year old tubster with all these cool indie-kids from Toronto waiting to get photos taken with the band.
One-by-one, they came out of the venue - Duncan was there within 10 minutes, while Paul took nearly an hour. They stood and chatted to everyone and posed for umpteen photographs - I was asked by some of the fans to take the snaps (I hope they turned out fine for all concerned).
When the band heard my broad Glasgow accent, they engaged in conversation about past gigs I'd seen them at. They each went up even further in my estimation by agreeing that the Barrowlands gig of the Autumn 2005 was an astonishing event (do you remember that one Mr Kipper?) and also that the Carling Academy is a shit venue. Which is why in October, they're kicking off another UK tour with two nights at the hallowed venue - and Mrs Villain will be in the audience staring intently at Mr Smith (as she feels he is one of the sexiest men in rock'n'roll).
All in all, an amazing night. I'm not sure if any other gigs I get along to while over here will live up to last night. Full set-list:-
A Fortnight's Time
Postcard Of A Painting
Girls Who Play Guitars
Apply Some Pressure
Books From Boxes
The Night I Lost My Head
Sandblasted And Set Free
And here, for the folk I was talking to afterwards who haven't heard them are a few mp3 of Maximo Park in session at the BBC:-
mp3 : Maximo Park - Going Missing
mp3 : Maximo Park - Graffiti
mp3 : Maximo Park - Apply Some Pressure
mp3 : Maximo Park - Kiss You Better
and also from the BBC, a cover of a song by Natalie Imbruglia:-
mp3 : Maximo Park - Shiver
Oh, and few civilised things about Toronto. The Soundscapes record store (which was near The Mod Club) was open till midnight - so I made a few purchases which I'll mention later this week.
And...........an efficient and decent public transport system meant I could leave downtown Toronto at 1am and still get out to Hicksville within 30 minutes...we've a lot we could learn back home.